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Grass fire breaks out at Stanford Dish

Original post made on Jun 25, 2007

Firefighters are battling a grass fire near "The Dish," a grassy open area west of the Stanford University main campus, along Junipero Serra Boulevard.

Read the full story here Web Link

Comments (45)

Posted by debbie
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 25, 2007 at 5:43 pm

I've been watching the flume of smoke since approx. 4::15pm. It has shifted west at this time. (5:35pm). It is getting smaller. Looks like our fire fighters are doing a great job.
It also appers that the wind has calmed at this time, giving the firefighters a chance to get ahead of the blaze. The base of smoke is much smaller at this time. I have heard alot of air support
(?water planes), and news choppers. The flume looks about 20% now, compared to what it was.
5:39pm just heard another plane overhead.
will keep an eye on it.

Posted by Fan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2007 at 5:47 pm

This is too close for comfort. Plz keep us posted. Thx!

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Did our foothill station respond?

Posted by John
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:08 pm

Is this the Stanford's Dish Area controlled by the University? Is this where we run? Or is it on Linear accelerator region?

I hope there is no home close by

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:21 pm

I live near 101 and have been able to smell smoke since about 4.30 and have only just discovered what is going on from my car radio. I was taking my son to a baseball game. If the air quality is being affected, then some sort of alert should be sent out. I presume that since the last time a few months ago, it now works.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

It's been pretty lively here. Constant helicopters, sirens, and Coast Guard planes overhead. While driving to campus I passed a roadblock at Stanford Ave. and Raimundo; they were not letting any traffic through. A man shouted that he needed to get his dog. If he should read this, please post to let us know all is okay; I am thinking of you.

Just heard on t.v. that Old Page Mill Road residents are being asked to evaculate, but it is voluntary. I think they reported that over 100 acres have burned.

Posted by Kim
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:25 pm

KRON news 4 just reported it has grown to 100 acres. The news story above said it was 15 acres and 70% contained, it must have taken off because of the winds. I'd like to know what roads specifically are closed - does anyone have that info?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:28 pm

KLIV radio (1590 am) seems to be doing a good job reporting which major roads are closed, I am not sure about the residential areas.

Posted by debbie
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:30 pm

6:19 pm We are seeing only cloud-like smoke at this point. I hear on the news that it
is contained. The sky is almost back to normal. I am still seeing planes flying over the
fire site, perhaps they are continuing to douse the site. will update if I see anything more

Posted by Kim
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:40 pm

KRON update - 120 acres, 80% contained, Old Page Mill Rd has been evacuated, no structures have burned.

Posted by Mike
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:50 pm

KRON 4 now reports 120 acres.

SLAC is fine. I can't see any smoke from the SLAC site.

Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2007 at 8:14 pm

The closest fire station to respond would be Hanover at Page Mill, then the Stanford Fire Station, then the fire station on Arastradero Road. All these fire station are closer than Station 8 in Foothill Park.

Posted by Terry
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 25, 2007 at 8:26 pm

Three cheers for the CDF! I spotted an OV-10, at least one C-2 and a Huey. Job well done.

Posted by A Bordering Neighbor
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 25, 2007 at 9:18 pm

As we watched the flames come down the slope, and continue just beyond the walking trail 50 feet from our homes on the Dish side of Junipero Serra, it was not comforting to read that "no structures were threatened." It seemed like forever until they got here, watching the fire whip down slope. Yes, impressive air support.

Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2007 at 9:30 pm

Station 8 is close due to the city council vote.

Posted by Chuck
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2007 at 9:38 pm

And our City Council wants to shut down the Palo Alto Hills fire station? Doesn't sound too wise to me with the hills as dry as tinder. An accident waiting to happen.

Posted by vanessa bryand
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2007 at 9:46 pm

does anyone know when they expect to have the fire contained? how many stations responded?

Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 25, 2007 at 9:46 pm

I saw the smoke drifting my way not soon after it was filling the air.......I got on my 'puter thinking that you would have already put up an alert of some sort letting us know what was going on...I did not want to call the fire dept or police dept to clog the lines as I suspected others would probably be doing that...............SO. I waited. Finally heard about it on the television Channel 5 news. Then later read various notes from others on this site. Thanks for all the updates, it made me a little more secure in thinking that we could be in competition with Tahoe.............VIVA Palo Alto Fire Dept.and all those involved in fighting this blaze.
I looked to see if the Fire Dept. had an emergency site on line, but could not find one.......Anyone know if they have such an emergency line????????????

Posted by M
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 25, 2007 at 9:49 pm

Are Page Mill & Junipero Serra fully opened now? Anyone?

Posted by probably
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Probably just another harmless Senior prank, no need to worry. ;^)

Posted by iwasthere
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 25, 2007 at 10:00 pm

The fire is contained.

Posted by vanessa bryand
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2007 at 10:12 pm

thank you to all of the fire departments that were involved!!!

Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2007 at 10:37 pm

The news said that there was about 100 firefighters that were fighting this fire. It is now fully contained at 10pm.

Posted by Mary
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2007 at 3:47 am

The City Council MUST reverse its vote on closing Fire Station 8. The hills and Foothill Park are a dry disaster waiting to happen. The City Councils e-mail address is

If there's money for an Environmental Coordinator at $181K a year basic expenses (that's the first year before raises, staff, and perks - forever), then the city can find money for this. Write to the Council immediaetely.

Posted by mary
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2007 at 3:52 am

This site would not let me post the Council's e-mail addres in the post above, but here it is paraphrased


Maybe this will work.

Posted by Mike
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2007 at 6:46 am

The fire crews did a good job here. I hate to say it, but this fire won't prompt the city council to reopen a closed fire station. It'll only show that their previous decision was justified.

Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2007 at 6:48 am

Mary, yes Station 8 should be reopened. However, in past years Los Altos Hills has paid one-third of the cost or Los Altos has provided a firefighter. These two Cities no longer contribute due to budget cuts. Why should Palo Alto pay for Station 8 on their own when the nearest residential community is Los Altos Hills?

Posted by Ellen
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 26, 2007 at 7:15 am

I wonder if the Dish walking trails will be closed today. I heard they will be doing cleanup all day.

Posted by Little old me
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 26, 2007 at 8:33 am

Yes, the area is closed today. I drove by it this morning, and there was a sheriff car parked outside the entrances. There was a sign that said the area would be closed on Tuesday.

Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2007 at 9:03 am

It strikes me as suspicious that this fire happened so shortly after the closure of the Fire Station. Any early indications on the cause - intentional or accidental or natural? It is not that hot out yet for fire season.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2007 at 9:15 am

Now that the fire danger is over for the present thanks to the firefighters from wherever, it is time for some questions.

Apart from the question of the fire station which is of course important, I would also like to know why the public was not informed to stay away from the area and also why there was no warning for those with breathing problems to stay inside.

Many people use this area as part of their commute home and also for their early evening recreational activities. Many people did not know to stay away from the area until they saw road closed signs. An alert telling people to stay away or find another route home, or delay their journey home, BEFORE THEY STARTED OUT would have made a lot of sense. Why didn't this happen?

I live near 101 and could smell smoke in the air at 4.30. If I could smell it that early, then the smoke was causing pollution much closer to the fire than my home and much more seriously. I think that a warning should have been sent to homes much like the one we didn't get a couple of months ago when the fire in Redwood City caused toxic smoke. Does this mean that we still do not have an early warning system in place to warn residents? If so, how many more times is the warning going to be needed before something is done?

Posted by M
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2007 at 9:44 am

I have read a report that it was a faulty transformer located near the Dish that may have started the grass fire. I am very grateful for the quick response by the various fire fighting agencies that were able to knock this fire down quickly. As far as air quality alerts to the general public.... I think common sense tells you that if you smell smoke in your area you would shelter in place (if you have respiratory concerns). I heard about the fire on 5pm TV news. The fire was a fluid situation. I think the important thing was controlling the fire. Some people always expect a gov't agency to tell them what to do or warn them ... sometimes helping yourself and using your own judgement is best. Stop wining.... I'm sure our friends in Tahoe could use our support.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2007 at 9:52 am


I am not whining. I think that the situation was dealt with in a very efficient fashion. I do have sympathy for those in Tahoe.

My point, is that every situation is a learning situation and from every type of emergency, there are many things that can be learnt. I do not want this to be a situation where those in admin just sit back and praise themselves on a job done well, but they say right, what did we do well and what could be improved on. The next time there is a fire, it could be much worse, and it would be a good idea to prepare better for the big one.

I emphasise, I am not criticising anyone. Just asking those in organisation to not sit on their laurels, but use this incident as a practice for next time by asking the right sort of questions.

Posted by Mark
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 26, 2007 at 10:17 am

So Mike,

How is the council's decision justified? What would of happen if the fire had started closer to Foothills park (Station 8). The city was lucky this time that the fire started very close to the city.
City manager Benset wants to shut down fire truck #2 (Hanover St), during 8am to 8pm to staff Station 8. Truck #2 was one of the first rigs on the scene of yesterday's fire.
Station 8 was built because of the heavy fire loss (11 homes) in 1985. I think the city council got very lucky with this fire. They need to open Station 8.

Posted by Curtis Funderburk
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2007 at 12:44 pm

First I want to thank all the fire-fighters for there quick response and a job WELL DONE!! YOu folks are AWESOME!!! I grew up in Palo Alto and love the area.Is this the area where we run? Will the Dish area still be available for jogging and running possibly this weekend?

Again Thanks!

Posted by Kim
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 26, 2007 at 1:30 pm

I live one mile Northeast of the Blaze at the rear of College Terrace. I haven't smelled a whiff of smoke since the fire began right up to the moment. I guess the wind has been blowing directly West? It's strange that something that large that could be seen many miles away wouldn't be smelly.

Posted by Anne
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 26, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Is there word as to when the Dish trails will be re-opened?

Posted by hiker
a resident of Southgate
on Jun 26, 2007 at 4:11 pm

to Anne: from PAonline article.

[On Tuesday, joggers and hikers streamed to Dish trailhead at Stanford Avenue and Junipero Serra, hopeful of taking a morning walk and viewing the fire damage. However, they were turned away. An officer from the Stanford Department of Public Safety said that hot spots could still ignite up to 48 hours following a blaze.]

It looks like it'll be a wait & see kind of thing. Maybe they'll reopen by late Wed. or Thursday.

Posted by hiker
a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2007 at 10:38 am

As of Wednesday morning the Dish area has a signs at all entrances stating: AREA CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2007 at 11:28 am

This fire was started, according to written sources , by matches and human involvement. That strikes me as arson, a deliberate fire deliberately set.

Likely suspects?

1) Someone trying to prove a political point that closing any Fire Station is unwise and unjustified?
2) ?

Posted by Annette
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 28, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Is this dish open for walking yet? If not, does anybody know when this will occur????? Thanks!

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 28, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Looks like not until July 5th.

Web Link

Posted by Scott
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 29, 2007 at 9:13 am

Is the date of July 5th certain? I don't want to drive up there and see it closed. Anybody know for sure? Thanks so much! I so enjoy the hike!

Posted by Anony
a resident of another community
on Jun 29, 2007 at 9:58 am

Scott, It's probably closed til the 5th because of 4th of July...threat of fireworks.

Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2007 at 9:12 am

All I can say is the City is lucky the CDF aircraft was already in the area. From what I heard CDF was one of the first to call in the fire. Had that not been the case the fire most likely would have spread faster. The City Manager is gambling with lives and property by not staffing Station 8. Every year since around 1985 the City has staffed Engine 8 with overtime employees, that was the Cities choice and direction. Now they try to blame the firefighters for the overtime cost? great logic. The Cities plan to staff Station 8 is to rob another area of PA of their firefighting/paramedic crew and send them to the Foothills. What neighborhood gets to lose their emergency responders? why does the City blame the firefighters for overtime costs? why does the City just not hire enough people to staff properly? The City has also chosen to staff an Ambulance 365 days a year with overtime paramedics, this has been happening for over 15 years. Then the City complains about the overtime budget, again where is the logic in this? After 15 years of staffing an ambulance with overtime paramedics every single day at what point is the City Manager and Council going to realize they need to hire more people?
Staffing Engine 8 and an Ambulance with overtime is the City Managers and Councils directive, not the firefighters or their Unions. Engine 8 was only able to respond to the Dish Fire after the crew from another Station shut down their Engine and Station and switched to Engine 8. They then left their neighborhood and responded to the Dish area. This was a delay and it also left the district they vacated without a paramedic or firefighting crew. Why are the residents of the Foothills area (who pay taxes like the rest of us) not getting the same level of fire and paramedic protection as the rest of the City? This fire season is going to be one of the worst in recent years and the City is gambling with lives and property plain and simple.

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